Despite some adamant claims to the contrary, Britney Spears’ troubles are still very much an L.A. story.

A U.S. District Court judge has given attorney Jon Eardley—the latest legal eagle enlisted by the “Toxic” songstress to battle her father’s conservatorship status—until Feb. 29 to provide a legitimate reason to remove the case from Los Angeles to federal court. (View the order.)

A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Mar. 17.

Sam Lutfi’s publicist filed a petition on Feb. 14 to transfer the case on behalf of the New York-based Eardley. The complaint alleged Britney’s civil rights had been trampled by the court’s refusal to properly investigate her family’s claims that she’s unfit to manage her finances, choose what company to keep and make various other decisions regarding her welfare.

Michael Sands, acting as spokesman for both Lutfi and Eardley, said last week that he had filed the documents before a court commissioner extended Jamie Spears’ temporary conservatorship until Mar. 10, thereby making the action null and void.

Meanwhile, an L.A. Superior Court spokesperson said Friday that all Britney business remained under their jurisdiction.

“Jon Eardley is very happy that the judge will look at the explosive documentary evidence in the Britney Spears conservatorship railroad,” Sands told E! News Tuesday.

“This is a very positive step that the judge is concerned. Jon Eardley will have court papers filed by Feb. 29…This is the first step in the victimization of Britney Spears by L.A. Superior Court.”

But just in case Eardley can come up with an argument to sway U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez, Britney’s father has cooked up plenty of reasons to block the switcheroo.

Jamie Spears’ camp—arguing that Britney isn’t capable of hiring counsel and, therefore, Eardley is “an attorney without a client”—filed a motion Tuesday objecting to Lutfi & Co.’s “brazen—but vain—attempt to strip a probate court of jurisdiction before it could enter Orders” prolonging the conservatorship. (View the motion.)

Eardley’s “well-pleaded allegations” do not present an issue of federal law, the filing states, adding that any charges on Eardley’s part that Jamie Spears “supplements” his daughter’s medication “disregards the fact that the Probate Court has not granted Mr. Spears medical powers and that medications therefore do not fall within the scope of the conservatorship.”

In response to Eardley’s contention that Britney’s “unenviable status of having virtually no privacy in her life” and her “suffocating confinement” at the hands of her conservators could affect the effectiveness of her treatment, the conservators argue, once again, that the probate court did not grant Jamie authority over the troubled pop star’s medication.

“Because there is no logical relationship between Britney’s fame and the alleged federal interest to be addressed,” Eardley’s concerns about Britney’s medical treatment under her father’s care are a moot point.

The conservators are also asking that Eardley foot the bill for this latest round of attorneys’ fees, because he “lacked any reasonably objective basis” for filing the removal request.

But it’s the fact that Britney was previously ruled incapable of hiring her own lawyers that will likely prove the largest obstacle to sending the case to federal court.

“In Britney’s case, the commissioner revoked her power to retain her own legal counsel,” Kevin Whittaker, a San Francisco-based litigation attorney who’s not involved in the Spears case, told E! News last week. “Oftentimes, the conservatee can retain their own legal counsel. This wasn’t the case with Britney. So, the new attorney’s claim to be her legal counsel will be found invalid.”

A reason why Jamie’s camp is arguing that papers filed on her behalf listing Eardley as counsel of record don’t amount to a hill of beans.

Jamie and attorney Andrew Wallet were named temporary conservators of Britney’s multimillion-dollar estate on Feb. 1, the day after she was admitted to UCLA Medical Center’s psych ward for evaluation.

Although Britney was spotted dining out with her dad in Hollywood over the weekend, sources close to her have said she is anxious to extract herself from his legal grip.

She has not met with Eardley in person, Sands said, but they have spoken several times. And sources close to the situation have said Britney has been in contact with Lutfi—through an intermediary.

Lutfi, who has continued to avoid being served with the Spears family’s restraining order against him, “is at war with Jamie,” a Spears insider told E! News Friday. “This is his first strike.”


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